Magazine article Management Today

BOOKS: Anyone for Globalibation?

Magazine article Management Today

BOOKS: Anyone for Globalibation?

Article excerpt

This selection of polemic contributions to the debate about the overweening power of multinationals ranges from the glib to the disturbing, says Alan Kemp.

FENCES AND WINDOWS; By Naomi Klein; HarperCollins; pounds 8.99; MT Price
pounds 7.99

20:21 VISION; By Bill Emmott; Allen Lane; pounds 20; MT Price
pounds 16.99

OPEN WORLD; By Philippe Legrain; Abacus; pounds 12.99; MT Price
pounds 11.99

THE WORLD IS NOT FOR SALE; By Jose Bove and Francois Dufour; Versa
Books; pounds 10; MT Price pounds 9.00

ON GLOBALIZATION; By George Soros; PublicAffairs Ltd; pounds 12.99;
MT Price pounds 11.99

GLOBALIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS; By Joseph Stiglitz; Allen Lane;
pounds 7.99; MT Price pounds 6.99

MTbookshop 08700 702 999

Ironically, Naomi Klein's anti-corporate No Logo was a commercial phenomenon. It traced the development of global brands and their commercial, political and moral consequences. Her follow-up, Fences and Windows, is a thinner work, being a selection of articles and speeches made since No Logo shot Klein to prominence. Nonetheless, she shows no loss of edge as she reviews the growth and coalescence, as she sees it, of anti-globalisation activism.

A Canadian, she deprecates most of what she has observed to her south over the past 20 years, arguing that, just when America most needs a window on the world, its corporately concentrated media provide a vanity mirror. In a chapter headed 'America is not a Hamburger', Klein brilliantly mocks the appointment of Madison Avenue's Charlotte Beers as a presidential adviser on foreign relations.

In portraying the protest movement as more than disparate interests held together by what they are against, Klein is less convincing and more cliched. Yet the torrent of challenges to conventional wisdom in Fences and Windows makes it well worth reading.

Bill Emmott's 20:21 Vision takes in globalisation as he crystal-balls the future. Unfortunately, the book owes so much to his editorship of the Economist that to know the magazine is to have read the book. By making the future so dependent on the past, and neglecting evidence contrary to his thesis, Emmott blinkers the reader's eyes.

The thesis? That a rosy future depends on just two conditions being met: America continuing to keep the world safe for capitalism, and capitalism continuing to adapt to its surroundings. Hey presto! Future perfect.

One of Emmott's former writers, Philippe Legrain, provides similar support for globalisation in Open World: The Truth About Globalisation. …

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